CONCORD, N.C. — Tuesday afternoon, the National Motorsports Press Association announced the three names it selected for induction into the 2016 NMPA Hall of Fame class.
Rick Hendrick made the list.
The Hendrick Motorsports owner is joined by fellow team owner Joe Gibbs and former driver Al Unser — all three will be inducted on Jan. 16, 2016, in Concord.
“I have such great respect for the people who cover our sport and the role they play in keeping our fans informed,” Hendrick said upon learning of his selection by NMPA members. “The NMPA has done so much to give back to the NASCAR community and highlight people’s contributions through programs like the Myers Brothers Award and Driver of the Year. It takes a lot of commitment and sacrifice to do what our media members do every week. To be recognized by that group of people is very humbling.”
Born in 1949, Joseph Riddick “Rick” Hendrick III was raised on the family farm near Palmer Springs, Virginia. At 27, he was the youngest Chevrolet dealer in the United States and built an empire that has grown into the largest privately held automotive group in the country.
In NASCAR, Hendrick and his Hendrick Motorsports organization have made an equally large impact.
Since its first race in the 1984 Daytona 500 (finished eighth) and its first win seven races later by Geoff Bodine at Martinsville Speedway, Hendrick Motorsports has amassed countless NASCAR records in its 32-year existence.
Among the most notable: 14 NASCAR driver championships, including 11 in the premier Sprint Cup Series and 14 owner championships across three national series.
Hendrick received 88 percent of votes cast by NMPA members, Gibbs received 76 percent and Unser received 66 percent.
The NMPA Hall of Fame is located on the grounds of Darlington Raceway and has been in operation since 1965. Hendrick, Gibbs and Unser become the 96th through 98th members of the Hall.